The Dangers of the Holidays for Your Beloved Pets
The holidays can be dangerous for your pets.
Counters are full of tasty treats that can not only make them sick but can also kill them.
People are coming and going.
And, it is the number one time of year for relinquishment to shelters and euthanasia.
As a Vet Tech
When I first began working in an animal clinic I was surprised when my fellow veterinary technicians warned me that the holiday season has the highest rate of euthanasia.
I personally, still don’t really understand it. I hope I never can, because I think it is heartless and despicable.
But, unfortunately it is true.
A large number of pets are euthanized during the holidays, and even more end up in shelters.
People don’t want to put up with a pet that has accidents in the house when friends and family are due for arrival.
Some people don’t want to pay a pet sitter or for boarding.
And, many just don’t want to be inconvenienced by a geriatric animal through the stressful holidays.
For some it is one person in the family (mom, or dad) and for others it seems mutual.
Again, I don’t understand nor would I ever condone it.
I am thankful for each and every day I am blessed to share with my pets!
But as a Dog Obedience Trainer and Pet Sitter
But as a dog obedience trainer I make a point of doing my best to help people with their dogs’ obedience and giving their pets a place to stay during the holidays.
Good obedience is the key! A dog that listens and obeys commands is much less likely to be in danger than his counterparts who are jumping on guests and stealing food.
Let’s take some of the Most Dangerous Behaviors and Break them Down Quickly
Thursday is Thanksgiving!
And many people are already starting to panic!
But if you put your mind to it, you can make a difference in just a couple of days!
Keep your dog on a leash if he jumps on you or your guests.
Don’t allow him to maul people as they come in your home.
Use a leash to restrain him and ask him to sit (most dogs at least know how to sit but for help click here)
If you are busy cooking and you don’t have a responsible person to help with a slightly unruly dog; crate him in another room.
Dogs who are crated aren’t really able to bother anyone!
Everyone will think your dog is really well behaved and anyone who has previously been pounced on by your jumping dog will be relieved that they don’t have to deal with this behavior.
If you are worried about your dog fussing in his crate make sure you get up early or take a break to give him much needed exercise! I’m not talking about a stroll! RUN your dog! Hook him up to a bike or play retrieve games until he is utterly exhausted!
I also like leaving a fan on high and music on so that my dog can’t hear every move me and my company make.
Stealing food can be deadly during this time of year!
Actually stealing food can be deadly any time of year but it is even more dangerous during the holidays.
Just yesterday I was out grocery shopping for my Thanksgiving meal.
I bought whole milk, heavy whipping cream, cream cheese and real butter all of which are included in my famous mashed potatoes alone!
Normally, I am a pretty healthy cook, but I make an exception 2-3 times a year so that everything tastes especially delicious.
All of that fat can send your dog straight to the doggy hospital. Dog’s bodies can’t handle the influx of that much fat and their pancreas can’t handle it, leading to pancreatitis which in severe cases can kill dogs.
We always had an influx of dogs post holiday meal at the vet clinic set for bloodwork and IV fluids. Not only is it dangerous, it is expensive.
Again, a leash makes all the difference in the world! If my dog has a leash on, I am not going to let him counter surf.
I put dog beds in the kitchen so that my dogs can do comfortable down stays while I cook. They want to be involved anyway… this allows them to while being out of the way. For help with “Place” click the link.
It also means I know what they are doing and that they aren’t getting into trouble.
If that isn’t an option, use a crate.
I often crate my dogs during the day so that I can use them when I need them.
Again provide your dog with good healthy exercise before you leave him and he will sleep.
Running Out of The Door
This is a terrible habit and one that can get your dog killed. If you need long term help click here.
If you don’t have a handle on this behavior, having multiple waves of visitors can be terrifying!
Again, something as simple as a leash can save your dog’s life.
Have everyone arrive at the same time!
Even my dogs get excited when someone comes to visit. When I am hosting a large party I request that people show up as close to the time I request as possible. I tell them that it is easier for my dog, and yes my dog is an important member of my family.
This way I can put leashes on for when people come through but after a few minutes of socializing I can let them be free (provided they aren’t going to jump and that they are going to listen) otherwise keep them on a leash.
Discuss door procedures with your guests so that no one goes out and releases your dog and so they keep an eye on their children.
And, if you can’t trust your company and you can’t keep your dog on a leash then use a crate!
A crate, in a secure area of the house will save your dog’s life!
If Leashing and Crating Won’t Work
So you will tell me you can’t leash your dog and get the things done that you need to get done.
And some will say they can’t crate their dogs because they will be too loud or still misbehaved.
Take your dog to a boarding facility.
It isn’t your dog’s fault if she/he does not have the skills needed to coexist with your friends and family; especially since most people never teach the needed skills and those that do usually don’t keep up on them like they need to!
If you are too far behind this year, don’t sweat it! Use a boarding facility or a pet sitter that will take your dog into their home.
Then proof these skills for next year’s holiday season!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.